At Google’s I/O developers conference Wednesday, two protestors interrupted the keynote for two very different reasons.
According to The Verge, one pointed at the stage and accused Google of making “killer robots,” shouting, “You all work for a totalitarian company that builds machines that kill people!” Guards escorted the protestor from the premises so Google senior VP of technical infrastructure Urs Hölze could finish his presentation, but not before the protester added, “You know that’s true.”
The Verge reports that the man continued his rant on his way out the door.
During Android engineering director Dave Burke’s presentation, a woman lifted up a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “develop a conscience, stop Jack Halprin” and shouted about the Google lawyer’s recent Mission Dolores home evictions of tenants in San Francisco, Calif. The woman was escorted from the keynote amidst cheering from the crowds.
While killer robots is new, this is not the first Halprin protest. The San Francisco Examiner reported an incident in April where protestors “blocked a Google bus with a pink banner reading, ‘Google STOP JACK from Evicting TEACHERS.'” Halprin’s tenants were evicted via the Ellis Act, a law which allows landlords to go out of business by evicting their tenants and selling their property. According to Newsmax.com, the Halprin protests are only a fraction of the growing contention between the wealthy tech industry and the rest of the population in San Francisco.
“[It is a] growing divide between rich and poor in San Francisco, a rift widened by a tech industry boom that is inflating rents and exacerbating social problems such as evictions,” Newsmax reported.
But Google wasn’t fazed by the protests in today’s keynote. Both Hölze and Burke kept right on talking and ignored the accusations of unjust evictions and “killing machines.”